Firstly I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Gemma Woodford and I’ve recently started working with Cumbernauld Living Landscape as the Creating Natural Connections learning assistant. I’ll be going…
Connecting young people to nature
Our schools programme will provide opportunities for children to be closely involved in practical projects to create pockets of urban wetland habitat through rain gardens and diversifying areas of amenity grassland with wildflowers. We will work intensively with 96 young people at risk of disengaging from high schools and colleges; each group will take part in a 6-month Natural Connections programme, where they will be supported to develop and deliver environmental improvements to their local greenspaces. These improvements will complement the capital works programme.
Teachers from schools across Cumbernauld and North Lanarkshire will take part in workshops and training sessions to build confidence in delivering outdoor learning skills to their students utilising nearby greenspaces.
Our approach to this workstream has been informed by the needs and themes arising from our previous work with young people combined with audience research, consultation and taster sessions carried out as part of the development phase (Appendix 7). These can be summed up as:
- Building skills and confidence – there is a need to improve skills, create alternative learning opportunities and increase positive destinations for marginalised young people
- Health and well-being – there is a growing mental health crisis and a need for programmes which improve both mental and physical health for young people
- Awareness and understanding – many young people are simply not aware of Cumbernauld’s greenspaces and the opportunities and benefits they can bring
- Capacity-building – teachers and youth leaders lack the knowledge, skills and confidence to deliver sessions outdoors to enrich their activities and provide a range of benefits for young people